Published Nov 06, 2015From the jump, Khruangbin's The Universe Smiles On You plunges into a Funky Drummer-flavoured groove; delivered by this three-piece ensemble from Texas (Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, Donald Johnson on percussion), "Mr. White" is almost soothing in its familiarity, despite interweaving a number of varied influences. The band name refers to an "obsessive" love of Thai funk, a hypnotic, expansive take on the classic American R&B and surf rock sound, indicating that this project is an exercise in intercultural homage.
It's competently crafted: the '60s-style electric guitar sound of "August Twelve" is psychedelic and souped-up, the ominous loom of "The Man Who Took My Sunglasses" feels like it belongs on a Quentin Tarantino motion picture soundtrack and the haunting sway and vocals of lead single "Balls and Pins" gives a tingly feeling. Recorded in a "barn in the Texas countryside," as a debut, The Universe Smiles On You carries a confidently pastoral approach to deep groove and instrumental music. As music to vibe to, this jazzy project is hopefully the first of many. (Late Night Tales)